Friday, May 29, 2009

Drumsticks on earth !!

This name is all thanks to Ma's whacky sense of humour or creativity, whichever sounds better. There is this really nice dish she makes with drumsticks and peanuts -one of her specialities, and it was made again yesterday.

When I took pictures of it, I asked her what its called and she says 'drumsticks on earth' and when I gave her this questioning look, she said 'if you can have drums of heaven (an indian-chinese chicken starter), why not drumsticks on earth'. I gave her this real smirky shocked expression, but then she stuck to the name, so here it is - drumsticks on earth !!

She got this recipe from her mother-in-law, who got it from her neighbour.
Its got a lovely flavour of peanuts and tender drumsticks really lap up the spices and taste totally awesome.
It goes with dal, rice, or you can chew on some, when you just want to give your teeth some exercise...the drumsticks used in this were so tender, you could eat it all up, but I felt like too much of a cow to keep chewing on it endlessly, so had to give up after a point !

What you need -

6 tender drumsticks
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
1 tsp chilli powder
pinch of turmeric powder
1 tbsp powdered jaggery (optional)
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
small pinch of asafoetida

What you do with it -

Cut the drumsticks into 2" pieces and peel
Boil them with one cup of water, till just cooked
Make a coarse powder of the peanuts
Prepare a seasoning with cumin, mustard and asafoetida
Add turmeric powder, chilli powder, jaggery and the drumstick pieces
Sprinkle the roasted peanut powder on it and fry till its crisp

Monday, May 18, 2009

Spicy Tangy Chillies !!

The first time I'd seen these chillies were at a food stall at one of the innumerable exhibitions held in these big grounds in Bangalore.
These chillies would be hanging all around the stall too and they would make these really yummy chilli fritters (molaga bajjis).

Rainy cold weather always reminds me of these bajjis and a hot cup of tea, though I may not have really made these more than 5 times in the last 10 years, but just thinking about it makes me feel nice and warm, especially when its pouring outside !!

These chillies are really quite mild in taste, not spicy like you'd expect a chilli to be. These are also known as Hungarian peppers.

This is what Ma made. She got the recipe from a friend of hers.
You can feel the mild spice of the chillies, the sweetness of jaggery and the tangy flavour of the tamarind burst in your mouth, with every bite of this.
It is simply delicious and is great with parathas or even a simple dal and rice. Its almost become a staple at lunch these last few days.

Do give it a try if you like something spicy, sweet and tangy, all in one bite !
Sending this to Mahima's 15 Minute cooking...

What you need -

6 Green chillies / Hungarian peppers
2 tbsp grated jaggery
2 tsps fennel (saunf) seeds
1 tsp cumin (jeera) seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek (methi) seeds
1/2 cup tamarind extract
1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup water

What you do with it -

Quarter the chillies lengthwise and deseed. Wash and keep aside
Heat oil in a deep pan
Add the fennel, cumin and fenugreek seeds
Add the chillies and fry a bit
Add the tamarind extract, jaggery, salt and water and bring to a slow boil
Once it cools, store in a jar and refrigerate

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Carrot Coconut Muffins

My adventures in the kitchen have become much more interesting after I discovered the food blogging world. There are a zillion options out there, waiting to be 'tried and tasted' and after blog hopping for a while, it actually gets difficult to decide on what I want to make from which blog !

I never attempted baking earlier, except for an odd cake once in a way. I just didnt think I could do that well, but over the last few months, after seeing so many of you baking so wonderfully, I gathered all my courage and now am thrilled to say I've even baked bread a few times !!

When my brother was in UK a couple of months back, I asked him to pick up a muffin tray for me and ever since I got here, I've been waiting to try out a lot of the bookmarked muffin recipes.

I wanted to make these lovely looking muffins I had seen on Miri's blog for a long time, but everytime I decided making it, there was some ingredient always missing, either the carrots or the butter or sometimes, even the flour !!

But today, I had to make it, with a few substitutions though...
It turned out really really nice - soft with these nice bites of carrots, raisins and coconut in between.

What you need -

1 cup maida
1 cup wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup butter (unsalted)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups grated carrots
1 apple
2 really ripe bananas
1 cup grated coconut
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder

What you do with it -

Mix together the flours, baking powder, cinnamon powder and baking soda
Peel and grate the apple
Run the bananas thru the blender to make a smooth paste
Beat the eggs and keep aside
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together till creamy. Add the pureed bananas and beat some more
Mix in the eggs and vanilla essence into the butter, bananas and sugar and then add the flour, grated carrots, greated apple, chopped walnuts, raisins and coconut mixing just until combined
In Miri's words "The key to spongy muffins is not to mix the ingredients too much but just till they come together"
Spoon the batter into lightly greased muffin pans or you can line the muffin pans with muffin papers and then spoon the batter into them.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 deg C (350F) for about 25 minutes till a toothpick inserted comes out clean
Rest for 10 minutes and turn out of the muffin pan and let it cool completely

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Dudhya Koddel (Red Pumpkin with sichuan pepper and coconut)

I must have mentioned in all the posts related to Konkani cuisine, that we really cannot complete a meal without some(actually a lot) coconut in it. Its a staple in Mangalorean cuisine and isn't really considered unhealthy.

Either the side dish, or what we have with rice, or both in most cases, has to have coconut in it.
Bendhi, Humman (who-mann), Koddel, Sukke are made with a thick coconut masala, and had as a side dish. Each one had red chillies, tamarind and coconut in it, with a few variations and different seasoning


Teppal / Sichuan pepper is a spice (pod of a fruit) very specific to Konkani cuisine, and from what I read, also used in Tibetian, Bhutanese and Chinese cuisine ! It adds a wonderful aroma to the dish, but too pungent and strong in taste to be eaten. Teppal is used in koddel and a lot of fish curries, to help fight any gastric problem that the fish creates.

The red chillies used in this are the 'byadgi' variety, which give it a lovely red colour, but not that spicy. Must take some of these chillies back to Ahmedabad - there the chillies are super spicy, but there is no colour !

This koddel is a South Canara special and generally made with red pumpkin - there is also a puli koddel, made with ash gourd.


What you need -

1 cup peeled and cubed red pumpkin
1 cup grated coconut
6 red chillies
small ball of tamarind
3-4 teppal (sichuan peppers)
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp oil

What you do with it -

Fry red chillies in a tsp of oil
Grind together the coconut, red chillies and tamarind into a smooth paste
Steam cook the pumpkin pieces, adding a little salt when its almost done
Add pumpkin pieces to the coconut masala and bring to a slow boil
In 1/2 tsp oil, fry the teppal (sichuan pepper) and add to the pumpkin

* Warning: Do not eat the teppal / sichuan peppers - they are really strong in taste

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Aloo matar, aur bohot saare matar....

This is from an ad that used to screen when I was young (that was ages ago...)
I think it was an ad for some refined oil - the mother asks the little girl what she wants to eat and she says "Aloo matar, aur bohot saare matar, aur garam garam puriyan..."
I loved this line and everytime Ma made aloo matar I would say this line - I used to do silly things like that !!

A few years back, we were invited for lunch at one of S's colleague's place. They are Marwaris (who did not eat onions and garlic) and there was this huge spread with puris, aloo matar (I was so tempted to say that line, but had to stop myself), kadai paneer, gatte ki sabji, shrikhand, malpuas, rotis, dal, peas pulav, cant remember the rest.

I had never tasted aloo matar made this way. Mine was always the Punjabi Aloo Matar, dry one with onions and masalas. I took down the recipe from the lady there and have made it many times after that. Here's what it looks like...

What you need -

4 potatoes
2 cup shelled fresh / frozen green peas
1 tomato
1/2 tsp asafoetida
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp kalonji
1 tsp oil
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

What you do with it -

Peel and chop the potatoes into bite size pieces
Chop the tomato into tiny pieces
Heat oil in a pressure pan (the flat version of a cooker) or a deep pan
Add the asafoetida and cumin seeds and kalonji when the oil is hot
Add the turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt
Add potatoes and peas and stir in with the oil and masalas
If using a pressure pan, add 1 cup of water and the chopped tomato and cook for one whistle and turn off
If using a pan, add 1.5 cups of water, cover and allow it to cook till the potatoes and peas are cooked. Stir in between and add water if required
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot
Goes really well with puris / rotis / parathas

Monday, May 4, 2009

Not really a "Foot Long"

Bakeries are very popular here in Bangalore, and have been around ever since I remember, but till about 15-20 years back, they weren't so many hip ones that served up croissants, fancy breads, pastries and exotic looking sandwiches.

They were more the 'Iyengar' bakery types that had fresh bread, puffs, cakes with pink and green icing (!!), buns with various fillings and the open bread sandwich which has a slice of bread, with a topping of carrot, onion, chillies and coriander -a pretty popular snack and cream rolls, which was my all time favoutire.
There is also this disc shaped pastry filled with coconut and cherries and called 'dilkhush', which translates to 'happy heart' !! Ma bought it last week for old times sake and my dil was really khush
For the ones who are not familiar with 'Iyengar bakeries', Iyengar is a Brahmin (vegetarian) community in South India and I am not sure how many bakeries were owned by Iyengars, but people felt they were in safe vegetarian hands if they bought from an Iyengar bakery and so the term is still very popular.

The nicest bakery at that time was 'Nilgiris' and 'Sweet Chariot'.
Then came the spanking new and hip 'Hot Breads' - I must have been in school that time and it was a very very popular place to hang out, order cakes, buy some nice fancy bread, croissants, cheese cakes...
They had this really nice bread called 'footlong'. Like you must have guessed, it is a roll which is a foot long. The bread was generally spiced with some herbs/garlic or chillies.

When I made the broccoli and pasta bake the other day, I made a footlong(thats more the name, it really wasnt a foot long) with onions, garlic, herbs and roasted tomatoes. Made thick slices and toasted it with some garlic salt and butter...

What you need -

1 tbsp yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
1.5 cups maida / flour
1.5 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil

Filling and Topping

1 tbsp oregano
2 onions
3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp crushed pepper
1 firm tomato sliced
1 tbsp olive oil

What you do with it -

In a bowl, stir together yeast, sugar and the lukewarm water and proof yeast for 10-15 minutes, or until foamy.
(I had made my last bread in a really hot weather and here, its nice and pleasant and yeast just wouldn't foam up, so I pre heated the oven to 180 deg C and turned it off and kept the bowl of yeast in it)
Stir in flour and wheat flour, 1 tbsp olive oil and the salt, adding as much of the flour as necessary to form a soft and slightly sticky dough
Transfer to a lightly-oiled bowl, cover with cling film or a muslin cloth and let it rise in a warm place(popped it in the over again) for 1 hour until double in size
Meanwhile, chop the onions and garlic lengthwise
In a small pan, heat a tbsp olive oil and fry the onions and garlic
Add the oregano, crushed pepper and salt
To make up for sun dried tomatoes, I cut slices of the tomato, add some oregano, sprinked a pinch of salt and some olive oil
Grilled it for 10 mins in the oven at 200 deg C
Once the dough has risen well, knead it down and press with lightly-oiled hands
Fold in the roasted onion mix, leaving a little for the topping
Make into a long roll and place it on a greased pan
Keep this for about 30 mins till it rises again
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Set rack in center of oven.
Smear a bit of olive oil on top of the dough and sprinkle this fried onion mix on it
Place the tomato slices on the roll and bake for 30 mins

Friday, May 1, 2009

Broccoli and Pasta Bake

I have been doing a lot of cooking, but either we are all too hungry, or so busy chatting and munching, that I havent taken any pics to post.
Last Sunday was lunch at my brother's place and I made aloo tikki with khattey meethey choley from Ranjani's blog and espresso panna cotta from Deeba's. Ma made dahi vada and my sister-in-law made pulav, ginger potatoes and a lovely boondi raita.

Today, I finally made bread after two attempts of yeast not rising, because of the lovely weather here !!
Also made a broccoli pasta bake, which turned out quite filling.

Combined a whole lot of recipes I've tried earlier for my broccoli pasta bake, threw in a few mushrooms and capsicums and layered it with potato, breadcrumb, egg and cheese.
This particular layer of egg was something I had seen on one of the Nigella Express shows, where she whipped up some cornflour, cheese, egg and milk and topped it over a soup, if I remember right and it gave it a souffle effect, which looked so awesome - everything she makes looks awesome anyway !
I skipped the cheese in the milk and added it as a separate layer over the egg layer. It set the dish real well and gave it this nice firm look. Unfortunately, the dish was too deep, so while pulling out a slice, it got messed a bit, but tasted great anyways...
The bread tuned out nice too. More on that in my next post.

The sauteed veggies which was the first layer...

Next came the potatoes, breadcrumbs and egg and cheese.
And here's the bake, all nice and brown...

What you need

1 cup broccoli florets
1/2 cup mushrooms (use more if you like, I had just this much at home)
1 onion
1 tomato
1 green capsicum / bell pepper
1 cup pasta (Use any short pasta - I used mini farfalle)
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp mozzarella shredded
1 tsp salt
1 tsp crushed pepper
1 tsp chili flakes
1 egg
3 tbsp breadcrumbs
2 potatoes boiled

You can finish the topping with either the breadcrumbs or potato or eggs. I was just in the mood to add everythign I had !

What you do with it -

Boil water in a large pot with some salt and a drop of oil
Put the pasta in it and boil for 5-7 mins
Drain and water and set aside
Chop the capsicum, onion and tomato
Quarter the mushrooms
Cut brocolli into small florets
Heat a tsp of butter, add the onions, capsicum and brocolli and saute
Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and saute some more
Add the chopped tomato and pasta
Keep on heat for 2 mins and turn off the heat
Beat an egg with 1/2 cup milk, 1 tsp cornflour, a little salt and oregano to it
Mash the boiled potatoes with 1/2 tsp butter and a pinch of salt
In a greased pan, pour in the pasta, then add a layer of mashed potatoes
Top it with a layer of breadcrumbs and then pour the beaten egg mixture
spread the grated cheese over it
Preheat the oven to 180 deg C
Bake for about 20-25 mins till the cheese is nice and brown


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